"Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips." Pr 27.2
This is great advice. It's always better for others to sing your praises, cuz then you don't look arrogant or prideful. There's only one thing wrong with following this proverb:
What if no one says anything good about you?
I guess then you can go back to Pr 17.8 and offer someone a bribe to praise you in public...
"...do not go to your brother's house in the day of your calamity." Pr 27.10b
Hmm, should I have turned my brother away during Hurrican Ike? No, of course not. This is a great example of missing the point of the proverb. I deliberately skipped the first half of the verse, which says "Do not forsake your friend and your father's friend..." The thought I have is this--we should work to be the kind of people who help in troubled times. We will all need other's help in times of calamity, and when we need help we should seek it. But as followers of Jesus we can make a difference in the world when we are individually and collectively ready to help in times of trouble.
One of my favorite proverbs: "Whoever blesses his neighbor with a loud voice, rising early in the morning, will be counted as cursing." 27.14. Can I get an "amen" from you non-morning folks?
Whoops, I guess the bribe thing won't work. 27.21 says "The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold, and a man is tested by his praise." It seems that praise for us--or the lack thereof--are parts of the refining process God has. Hmm, I guess that means I should not take praise or the lack of praise personally. It has nothing to do with my identity. It is something God uses to shape me into a better man.
Finally, on the economy:
"Know well the condition of your flocks, and give attention to your herds, for riches do not last forever, and does a crown endure to all generations? When the grass is gone and the new growth appears and the vegetation of the mountains is gathered, the lambs will provide your clothing, and the goats the price of a field. There will be enough goats' milk for your food, for the food of your household and maintenance for your girls." 27.23-27
I have two or three times sat down to blog about the economic situation in the US. The truth is I have no idea what is right. I feel like some bailout is necessary, but giving carte blanche to this administration is still a bad idea. It's a bad idea for any administration, because power does corrupt. It's why the leadership style of Jesus-followers is about service and sacrifice, not power and authority. But I digress.
The ecomony breathes, just like the cycle of grass disappearing then the new growth appears. We have staved off any significant downturns for nearly 30 years. We have almost no one left who lived through the Great Depression. Maybe we're near another significantly difficult time. Maybe not. I have no idea. But I know that God is on his throne and cares deeply for all of us, especially the poor. So we should prepare for difficult times, but never hoard away from the poor. There will always be enough for "the maintenance of your girls."
And as you know if you have daughters, that is plenty.